REGIONAL WORKSHOP: WELL-BEING FOR THE WESTERN BALKANS -MAIN CONCLUSIONS-
The regional workshop Well-Being for the Western Balkans which was held in Podgorica on June 24-25, 2021 gathered more than 60 practitioners, civil society actors, policymakers, researchers and media engaged in preventing and countering violent extremism (P/CVE) across the Western Balkan region. It enabled participants to discuss regional CVE trends and challenges, to exchange good practices, information and knowledge.
The workshop sought to provide a platform for increased collaboration and coordination among the growing number of grassroots, relevant CSOs and other community actors engaged in P/CVE in the region.
Main conclusions from the event can be summarised as follows:
- The rise of hate speech, ethno-nationalism and tensions are evident throughout the Western Balkan region. Therefore, it is essential to nurture -whole-of-society- approach in building community resilience to VE and in promoting peace, justice and inclusion;
- COVID-19 pandemic showed fragility of the Western Balkan countries and underpinned need for regional cooperation. Only through joint actions and commitment we can foster tolerance and solidarity, and work on reconciliation and peaceful coexistence in the region;
- Capacities of CSO working in the P/CVE field should be further strengthened, especially grassroots organisation and those working with returnees, women, children and youth. Sustainability of the capacity building programs should be secured through existing structures for non-formal education in each of the Western Balkan countries;
- Capacities and active engagement of media in P/CVE efforts should be further strengthened in order to reach citizens and increase media literacy, especially among young people;
- Facilitate meaningful engagement of religious leaders in P/CVE programs;
- Facilitate CSO networking and exchange of experience and utilize existing resources;
- Build capacities of first liners and establish phyco-social services for families and communities, especially on post trauma treatment.
The activity is part of the regional project “Communities First: Creation of a civil society hub to address issue of violent extremism – from prevention to reintegration” implemented by Forum MNE (Montenegro) in partnership with Centre for Legal Civic Initiatives (Albania), Hope and Homes for Children (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Partners Kosova – Centre for Conflict Management (Kosovo), Centre for Common Ground (North Macedonia), and Cultural Centre DamaD (Serbia) funded by the European Union and co-funded by the Ministry of Public Administration of Montenegro.
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